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Indigenous Voices of San Juan Capistrano: The Acjachemen (Juaneño) Indian Community
Mom would invite me to go to the Indian meetings in San Juan Capistrano. My dad never went. And it was the second meeting I ever went to, I was elected as the second spokesman. Yeah [laughs]. I remember a relative, what was that name, David - you've heard of David - what's his last name, up in San Juan Capistrano? Anyway, he was chairman for many years of the group there. And his cousin or something was the chairman of the Juane±o Band of Mission Indians when I was elected as a second spokesman. At a meeting, I thought I'd make a motion. The chairman says, "We don't accept motions." [laughs].
Text" "Federal Recognition for the Juane±o"
It was - it was a hard fall. We didn't win. They turned us down. The State of California recognized us as bonafide Juane±os, but somehow or other, we couldn't qualify. He said, "You don't show enough culture. You don't have enough group meetings."
And I said, "Well, you know, the state legislature, one of the first things they did was to put a bounty on the Indians of California.‚ And I can just imagine that any time an Indian found a barrel pointed at him, "I'm not Indian. I'm Mexican." You know, "Please, please." So they'd - you had no rights in a court like we do now. You couldn't have a witness. An Indian could not have his witness. So, it was a foregone conclusion he was going to be found guilty. Many Indians went to - across the border into Mexico. Which was easy. You could go back and forth at ease. I could remember going, as a teenager, going to Mexico. I think they were charging two pennies to cross.
Text: "Involvement in Revival Efforts"
Basket weaving is one of the things that we have classes on. And they all take place there in San Juan Capistano. Language, that's the other that we're involved in too.
I don't reckon that we're gonna be able to revive our quest to be recognized by the federal government, but the new chairman has made it known that he would like us to continue with our own culture, okay?
Come what may, if we're happy in this, let's continue to do it. And let the chips fall where they may. If they say we no longer exist, who cares?